Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CAFO Quotes & Simple Rants

"The problem isn't a lack of food, it is poor distribution."

"We don't need CAFOs, we need better farmers."

"CAFO farmers are nothing more than pig Nazis."

"Pasture pigs taste better and are better for you."

"All CAFO farmers are the worst kind of big business farming. They put small farmers out of business and are not real farmers, just investors."

Do you feel this way? Do you agree with any of these statements? Do you find it hard to believe that anyone would think this way? Or, that any one wouldn't?

I have heard them all and then some. I’m not here to change anyone’s mind, just speak of that which I know. I know that we have an abundance of food and there is an inadequate distribution system. However, I also know that as long as we have greed, welfare dependence, obesity, foreign dictators, incompetent government officials, and ignorance we will always have a hunger issue. Yes, farmers do feed the world. Yes, we need better distribution of our food resources. However, unless you have a way of fixing all those other problems then pointing fingers at CAFO owners and distributors really starts looking asinine when you get right down to it.

Now, the claim that better farming techniques are the way to go I have to say I agree. By utilizing new technology, innovative medical know-how, and better understanding of animal husbandry….wait, we’re already doing that. Well, I’ll be dogged. The problem is misunderstanding. Most people love the idea of 1940’s and 50’s farming. It’s a great image but reality doesn’t live in great imagery. To put this in perspective, one farmer in 1940 produced enough to feed 19 people. Today, one farmer can feed 155 people. 155! That is a huge difference and we didn’t accomplish this by sitting idly by and hoping for change. We did it through technological advances and sheer determination. Let us not forget the many technological advances that were waved away by a skeptical society that now serve as a lifeline that we could not live without. Some inventions that come to mind are cars, planes, and tractors.

As far as pasture pigs tasting better and being better for you; well, the first is entirely opinion based and the latter…well, I’d like to see documentation proving that pork is healthier than pork.

As for CAFO owners being nothing more than investors and this image of big business and fat, suit clad men smoking cigars and pocketing thousands of dollars while paying minimum wage to foreign workers is the falsest claim I have ever heard. I say this with first hand experience. I am not just saying, “I heard from…” or “Well, this commercial said…” I live here and I know because we own it, live it, work it, and we are not rich. I wish the latter was otherwise but the facts are that we are owner operators. Sure, we are investors but what business owner isn’t an investor? I'd also like to know if we aren't "real" farmers than what the hell have we been doing for the past several generations?

I’d like to take this time to mention that while I feel the Nazi reference doesn’t deserve to be dignified by a comment, I have to say the ignorance shines through in any such reference. First, to compare anything to the Holocaust is disrespectful to those that suffered through it. Furthermore, to compare farming pigs—an animal—to the mass murders of thousands of innocent people seems too boorish to even put into words. Furthermore, it shows an utter lack of perspective. That is all I will say about that.

I rant for this reason:

·         98% of Americans are several generations removed from farming yet those are the ones that feel they need to tell us how to do it.

·         In an Operation Main Street 2.0 seminar in Kansas State University, out of 100-plus veterinary students only two or three had any experience in swine production.

·         HSUS claims to be all about animal welfare however they only give $0.19 cents of that famous $19 they ask for in their ads--less than 1% of donated funds. While farmers spend tens of thousands of dollars on their animals to make sure they have a safe environment, food, shelter, water, and all their veterinary needs are met. 
·        We have the We Care program, Operation Main Street, PQA Plus, and many other programs, seminars, and mandatory training to ensure proper animal care and handling. How are we not advocates of animal welfare?

·         Finally, how else do we do it? If you know a better, more economical, more efficient means of raising these animals and feeding the world then why don’t you share it with the thousands of vets, engineers, scientists, nutritionists, farmers, etc. that are waiting to hear from you.

  I suppose the ultimate point is that of knowledge. Before you take the word of some commercial you saw or some conversation you overheard why don’t you get the facts for yourself. Ask a farmer. Talk to a vet. Question a butcher. Take a tour of a farm. Just don’t judge before you have all the facts and never jump to conclusions.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Factory Farming Exsposed

Learn the truth about animal handling practices in factory farms!
You'll be shocked by what you see!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Rule in Child Labor Laws Butts In on Ag Family Affairs

Once again government officials step in to help us poor dumb farm folk that just don't know no better.
Apparently, farmers are now no longer capable of deciding what our children can and cannot do on the farm. According to the proposed new rule, which updates current child labor laws, it would restrict minors working no the farm.

 This scene could soon be illegal.

As could this scene...

Depending on what the rule states as a "safe environment" and if the ruling passes kids and teens may not be able to work on the farm at all.

Just another way that the government and city officials are stepping in and stepping on the toes of farmers. Farm families have worked on the farm since birth and no government ruling is going to change that. Farm work is hard and sometimes dangerous but how else are future generations going to learn the family business? What's next? How much will we let the government control our everyday lives? My kids work on the farm and they are proud of it! That is one thing that will not change around here.

What do you think of this new proposal?

State Fair Update

A quick update on Miss Kylee Jo's ham that we took the Missouri State Fair. She placed 9th in her division. Not too shabby, top 10 her first year out. We couldn't be prouder and we are all looking forward to next years country cured ham.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

City Folk Friends

Recently, Aaron and I had one of our city folk friends over for some BBQ and other assorted victuals. After some quality chit chattin' we decided to take her and her daughter on a mini-tour of the farm.
Down the deserted black top, past the old white church...

Beyond the big barn...

We arrive at the hog house.

She had to take pictures and text them to her husband...."Look where I am, Honey..."

This is Denise and the short blond is her daughter Alli. Shortly after arriving we ventured into the barn to show them the ins and outs of piggin'. She was thrilled but her daughter was very disappointed that they were not little teacup piglets. Nope, these are 100 pound snouts.

"Hey, what's up?"

My dear friend Denise has a thing for pig snouts. She can't get enough of them. She had to rub every snout that came up to sniff her dainty little hand. With a giggle and a smile she rubbed snouts until we finally cut her off. Enough is enough. 

My big farmer man explained how we care for the pigs....oh, and my husband did some explaining too.

Needless to say, Alli prefers teacup piglets to 100 pound snouts and wanted no part of her mother's snout rubbing fetish.

The Pooboy taught his new friend a thing or two about pigs. "Yep, I help my dad with these pigs. I'm a farmer." 

The explanation grows intense.

After we toured both inside and out, after all the questions were answered, after all the snouts were rubbed away we drove. Home again, home again, jiggety jog.

I hope we haven't scared them off with our country ways. I'm sure Denise will be back but Alli's thoughts on the whole farming/country business thing is still in question. Pooboy plays hard and I'm hoping he didn't rough up Alli too much. He isn't use to little girls.

Have you ever been on a farm tour? I'd love to hear about it.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Disappointed, Down But Not Out

The big fair sale was yesterday and all the livestock and hams were auctioned off, one by one. Before the sale each child lined up to have their picture taken with their show animal/ham. It was a day of preparation, mild chaos, and disappointment followed by confusion, anger, and one very sad little girl.

This was some one's idea of a practical joke. You see that ham with the Grand Champion ribbon on it, well, that is Kylee's ham. However, she didn't get Grand Champion...someone switched the ribbons.

We were congratulated by family, friends, and even our own club leader. I also spoke to the head of the livestock division from the Extension office about our winning the Grand Champion ribbon and no one said anything to us or Kylee until picture time--four days later.The sad part is that the head of the livestock division is also in charge of hams but apparently knows nothing about them. I asked simple questions like, "What paper work do we need to fill out to reserve the ham for state?" Her answer: "I don't know." Great leadership and organization.

The really sad part is that they knew about the ribbon switching and didn't fix it or tell us until we confronted them. Nice, right. Get a kid's hopes up, let them believe, then, rip it away. The fact that she didn't get Grand Champion isn't the real issue. Sure, we wanted to win it but she still has a blue ribbon ham and that is just fine by us. The real issue comes from the fact that they made my little girl cry and then had the "well, this stuff happens so just get over it" attitude toward her (one lady actually said that). It wasn't their fault, somehow it was our fault. Please explain that one to me. This is her first year in 4-H and her first time competing in anything--great first experience. Needless to say, my husband marched over to the Extension office and gave them a piece of his mind. They just argued with him. Go figure.

Oh, well. We know we don't have the clout, social status, or the elbow rubbing techniques to turn any heads and get a fair shake in 4-H but we still get the last laugh. No matter what the local yokels say we are still taking that ham to state and my baby still did a fantastic job on her very first country cured ham. We are also the only people taking a ham to state from Audrain county. Now that says something. I'm not sure what it says just yet but it says something.

State fair, here come the Windmann's and we are out for blood. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garden Harvest

Gardening, like farming, is a family affair. We all get involved and enjoy every minute of it. We've been harvesting our treasures for weeks and it is time to share some of the bounty with you.

The radishes, though fully picked and no longer in the garden, came in droves and we nearly couldn't keep up with them.

Green is one of our families favorite colors. Not only is it the best color for a tractor but it is esthetically pleasing on food, as well.

This zucchini was a mammoth. It was as long as my forearm and hand and every bit as big around. We immediately breaded and fried it and it was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. We have another one every bit as big and it will get the same treatment. Fried zucchini is one of the best foods on earth. If you've never had it, you are missing out.

Green beans. Big, thick, beautiful, juicy, delicious green beans.

Miss Kylee helps in the garden and does a wonderful job picking the green beans. She has saved my back pain and discomfort many a times and I love her for it.

Mr Waylon helped me snap beans. We had great fun throwing the bean ends at Mina and watching them stick to her fur. She ate the ones that didn't stick. Mina loves green beans.

She also loves Waylon and gave him a kiss for all the yummy beans thrown her way.

Just think, this was only one patch of green beans. Good gravy, we're going to have a whole lot of beans.

The carrots are almost ready. A few more days and this little beauties brothers and sisters will double in size. Can't wait! Loves me some fresh garden carrots. Yum!
Finally, we have Kylee's pumpkins. This is one of many and she is looking forward to selling them once they are big, bright, and orange. Looking forward to it myself.

I love gardening. How about you?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

4-H Fair Results

And the winner is........................................................


Here it is, the Grand Champion ham. Ain't it a bute! I am so proud of my baby girl. Her first year of 4-H and she walks away Grand Champion. Look out Sedalia because the we are going to State.

This is the bookshelf Miss Kylee made for her woodworking project. She didn't make state but she did earn a blue ribbon. She did such a good job.

Poo-Boy got into the action, too. He won first place in the pedal tractor pull.

He gave it his all, pedaled his little heart out and pulled a whopping 35 feet.

He won a gold metal and he is still wearing it. He'll probably go to bed with that metal around his neck. Now that the kiddos have had a taste of victory they are hard core 4-H'ers. They can't wait until next year and neither can I.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer. I never understood that phrase but what the heck, lets talk about Mina.

I see you...

Mina likes the corn...Between you and me, I like the corn, too.

This is Mr. Frog. He is not a dog.

But he got to know my other pups. 
I mean my children. They built him a habitat.

And found him a friend.

Back to Mina...

She got a new toy. A nice chewy, nearly indestructible rope.

And she like to beat herself with it.

I don't understand her need for violence but she is part of this family so she needs to have a little crazy in her to fit in.

But even the rope isn't enough to amuse her for long.

"But Mommmmm, I'm bored..."

"Hmmm, what can I find to do over here?"

Enter Cat, luckily she does not have Kitten with her. Yes, I named our feline friends Cat and Kitten because I am an original kind of person.

"I'm not touching you..."

"I'm not touching you..."

Cat and Mina get along almost as well as Kylee and Waylon. The only difference is that Mina likes to carry Cat around by her neck and mess up her hair with doggy slobber, which Cat really hates. Kylee can't quite get her mouth around Waylon's neck but Waylon has messed up Kylee's hair with icky boy slobber....Gross!